Gerwig will become the first female American director to take on the role of Jury President at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Cannes Film Festival has appointed the acclaimed actor-filmmaker Greta Gerwig as the jury president for its 77th edition. This move marks Gerwig as the first American female director to assume the role of Cannes Jury President. She follows in the footsteps of Jane Campion in 2014, becoming only the second female director to undertake this prestigious position, and stands alongside actress Olivia de Haviland, who held the title as Cannes’ first female Jury President back in 1965.
It has been a record-breaking year for Greta Gerwig as she achieved multiples firsts for a female director with the global smash hit Barbie, topped by becoming the first woman to surpass the 1bn mark at the worldwide box office in July.
In a statement, Cannes said: “A heroine of our modern times, Greta Gerwig shakes up the status quo between a highly codified cinema industry and an era that is demanding greater scrutiny.
“Yesterday, ambassador of independent American cinema, today at the summit of worldwide box office success, Greta Gerwig manages to combine what was previously judged to be incompatible: Delivering arthouse blockbusters, narrowing the gap between art and industry, exploring contemporary feminist issues with deft as well as depth, and declaring her demanding artistic ambition from within an economic model that she embraces in order to put to better use.
“Whether acting, writing, or directing, her artistic endeavours have recurrent leitmotifs, such as family upheaval, adolescent rites of passage, fear of loss of social status or the emergence of artistic vocation via characters that are free, sometimes fragile and marginal, but also fierce.”
“This is an obvious choice, since Greta Gerwig so audaciously embodies the renewal of world cinema, for which Cannes is each year both the forerunner and the sounding board”, said Iris Knobloch, Festival President, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate. “Beyond the 7th Art, she is also the representative of an era that is breaking down barriers and mixing genres, and thereby elevating the values of intelligence and humanism.”
Gerwig will make her inaugural appearance on the Cannes red carpet in an official capacity, marking the first time she participates in the festival. None of her directorial works have previously had their premieres at the event.
Gerwig stated: “I love films – I love making them, I love going to them, I love talking about them. As a cinephile, Cannes has always been the pinnacle of what the universal language of movies can be. Being in a place of vulnerability, in a dark theatre filled with strangers, and watching a brand-new film is my favourite place to be. I am stunned, thrilled, and humbled to serve as the Cannes Film Festival Jury president. I cannot wait to see what journeys are in store for all of us!”
Tracing her trajectory, Cannes highlighted Greta Gerwig’s initial works alongside Joe Swanberg, where she co-wrote and starred in Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) and Nights and Weekends (2008), which she also co-directed. The festival also acknowledged her early collaborations with Noah Baumbach on Frances Ha (2012) and Mistress America (2015).
The festival commended Gerwig’s directorial debut, the Oscar-nominated drama Lady Bird, describing it as “a striking, tender, and melancholic portrait of the torments of adolescence.” Additionally, Cannes paid tribute to her second film, the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, for offering a fresh perspective on the female protagonists.
On Barbie, it enthused: “The tornado that is Barbie, ploughs the same furrow in even more spectacular fashion, by facing up to that ambivalent idol of small girls, a symbol of the female-as-object, but also of woman-emancipated. In this fierce satire about the human condition, Greta Gerwig nails everyday sexism, and stereotypes, with joyful intent. An international cultural phenomenon, Barbie is the second biggest success of the year and has made Greta Gerwig the most bankable female film director in history.”
The 77th Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to run from May 14 to 25, 2024.